Making Sure Young Workers Are Really Ready to Move Up

Susan Hall
Slide Show

The CIO-Millennial Divide: Struggling to Keep Up with Younger Workers' Tech Support Expectations

I recently wrote about the wave of retirements going on in federal government, a trend likely taking place in the private sector as well. In looking to the next generation work force, my colleague Ann All interviewed Lisa Orrell, author of the book "Millennials Incorporated," and a consultant to major companies on the topic. Orrell told Ann:

The millennials will be moving into management and leadership roles sooner than the generations before them. It's based on mass. If you look at population trends, this is where we are. You're going to have younger people that may not have the maturity or experience levels yet, but who are going to be entering management roles anyway out of pure necessity.

Her comments came to mind while reading an post entitled, "Coaching Gen Y Employees: What to Do When They Think They're Ready to Advance and You Don't." My sense in this situation: Tread carefully.


Orrell also said:

If Millennials come into the workplace and don't feel valued, they leave. The No 1 reason anyone leaves a company, according to research, is lack of recognition. But you magnify that with how Gen Y was raised. They need it even more.

Therein lies the challenge, but also the opportunity. David Lee, the founder of HumanNature@Work and author of the article, talks about taking the young person from what he calls "unconscious incompetence" (not knowing what they don't know) to "conscious incompetence" (realizing what they don't yet know, but need to know to advance.) Doing so would be tricky indeed. But by doing so carefully - all the while reassuring them that you truly value their enthusiasm and ambition - you can tie in to these young workers' basic needs.


We know that Millennials highly value mentors and career development. IT pros of all ages want to be able to see a career path for themselves. By being crystal clear about what they need to learn and how you will help them learn it, Lee says, you provide them hope and confidence that they'll get where they want to go by sticking with you.

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